Full-timing, RV’ing and your health!

November 24, 2008 by Tony Cornett · 5 Comments  
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From the desk of Firedude

In this blog I’ll discuss the issues of health and well being specifically with full-timers, but it really applies to everyone.

I can’t stress the importance of regular checkups such as your annual physicals ect. It’s so easy to retire and venture out into the world of full-timing, traveling, seeing the sites and all the lifestyle has to offer and slough off the importance of these checkups just because you happen to feel OK so many feel there’s no need. WRONG!

It’s like our fire trucks. Have you ever wondered how a 20 year old fire truck looks like brand new and even runs like new? It’s because of regular “preventive maintenance”. Consider your body a fire truck for example here. It’s so easy to just put things off for many reasons. We all have a thousand reason like, too busy, costs too much, and like the proverbial “put it off till later thing”. Many have a fear of doctors and I‘ll be the first to tell you I don’t like them any ore than the next person. Many fear in the back of their mind if they go to the doctor for an ailment or annual physical they’ll be told some is wrong. I’m no different than anyone else and having worked in the emergency medical and health filed in my career should be the first in line right?

Let me tell you of a couple of my experiences. I retired and avoided the ‘ol annual physical for 4 years. I discovered a knot in my neck on the left side near my ear. I figured (called denial) that it was just a swollen saliva gland and since it caused me no discomfort at all and no problems I was OK. Bad decision actually. I finally got a bit worried and the paramedic in me finally convinced me to get it checked. My doctor first chewed me out for not having an annual physical in 4 years, gave me one and then immediately referred me to and Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist (ENT). I was diagnosed with a Parotid tumor and told it had to come out right away. I went through a 5 hour surgery, painful recovery to remove it and found out it was benign thank God. My surgeon (ENT) wound up being a good friend whom I had went to school with and he told me I was a lucky dude it was taken care of before it eventually went malignant. The alternative to all this? I don’t even want to think about it. Let me tell you after that it made me a believer and have had my annual physicals since and I do NOT hesitate anymore to have something checked that I feel may not be right. For example, I had some spots on my face and one on my left arm. No pain, no symptoms so it’s OK (denial thing again), but I went to my doc and he referred me to a Dermatologist. Well the thing on my arm turned out to be skin cancer! It was caught early and I should be fine, but the Dermatologist told me had I not had that removed and taken care of it most likely would have spread and I would have been in some serious trouble.

My wife….. Annual checkup revealed a concern. Sent to a OBY/GYN and diagnosed with cancer of the uterus! It was caught so early on she had to have 2 major surgeries; BUT received a full cure (not remission) without even going through one ounce of Chemo or any radiation! Now had she not been to that annual physical? Not a very pleasant thought. In all our cases there were no outward signs of anything “major”wrong!

You know getting that annual physical and blood workup and being told you’re fine and everything is great is a good feeling to and a load off the ‘ol mind! Now if there is something wrong deal with it, get it taken care of because in many situations the flip side of the coin is real ugly. My dad once told me “son, you only live once and when you’re gone you are gone a long time”. Take care of your “fire truck” (body) and it will take care of you! Don’t we (most of us) do regular maintenance on our vehicles, RV’s, homes and stuff like that? You would think we’d maintain ourselves too!? I have a regular primary doctor and I make it a point of being in the area each march to have my annual physical done. When I’ve had an issue where I was not in the area I conferred with a local urgent care facility who contacted my doctor as well (at my instance) which made everything even better. Everything I’ve ever had done on the road has been communicated to my doc and is in my “home’ medical records with him. I found out these things the hard way and learned a couple valuable lessons. Change the oil in your vehicles, wash and wax your RV, see all the sights, but do NOT forget about yourself! Be healthy, get your check regular ups and if there is something that you remotely think needs checked get it checked! I want to meet a lot of you yet so take care of yourselves!

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5 Responses to “Full-timing, RV’ing and your health!”

  1. Nick Russell on November 25th, 2008 8:20 pm

    Great blog, Tony, and so very true.

    My wife was never one to go to a doctor for anything, and ignored her annual checkup for years. When we got married, she was having some female problems, but again, ignored them, telling me and herself it was just the onset of menopause.

    Finally, when she began to hemmorage, I got her to an ER, where she was diagnosed with stage 4 cervical cancer. The doctors told us to prepare for the worst outcome.

    After months of pure hell, she pulled through, but the doctor told her that a simple annual checkup and PAP would have found the tumor years before it became a problem.

    I also lost my sister to colon cancer four years ago. She would not get her regular annual exam, and by the time the cancer was discovered, she had weeks to live.

    Please folks, get your annual physical exams, get a colonscopy, a PAP, and all of the other recommended things. They can save your life. If not for yourself, do it for the ones who will be left behind if you don’t.

  2. Tony Cornett on November 25th, 2008 8:41 pm

    Thanks Nick. After my many years in the fire service and emergency medicine I saw a lot of this and of course denial sets in and away ya go…… until it hits you. The cards suddenly change and with any hope you’ve acted swiftly enough. Your point well taken and it can’t be stressed enough. I’m just glad either of us didn’t wait too long and how do we know what too long is? It’s so easy to hit the road and not take care of business and your health. One has to remember you can have something wrong with no immediate symptoms thus leading to the importance of regular checkups nipping things in the bud so to speak. Once I got back on track and started taking care of business I actually felt a lot more comfortable. I recently on the suggestion of my regular doctor had a head to toe check up by a dermatologist. I had this innocent looking spot on my left forearm and walla! It was a form of skin cancer, removed all gotten and he told me it could have eventually caused me some very major problems. We do preventive maintenance on our vehicles and all. Just because our vehicles aren’t missing or backfiring we still change the oil and get a lube job every so many miles right? We need it (the maintenance) too! Thanks Nick, great reply!


  3. Carol Ferguson on January 5th, 2009 11:00 pm

    Do you have any advice about the issue of keeping an old Motorhome–I am a fulltimer in a great 2001 Winnebago Journey with 85 thousand miles and very few mechanical problems. Where can I find information about this subject?

    Carol Ferguson

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